Moves to kick-start Berg cable car project
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Durban - After a series of false starts, fresh attempts are being made to woo investors for the proposed Berg cable car project.
The original plan to establish a cable car route to the top of the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg range dates back several decades.
Fifteen years ago another proposal failed to gain momentum, but the idea was revived more recently by Mike Mabuyakhulu, provincial MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs.
This culminated in the publication of a feasibility study three years ago for a R500-million cable car route to the top of Mt Amery, close to the Amphitheatre.
He said the 7km long cableway could be extended by another 5km to link up with the Afriski development near Butha-Buthe in Lesotho. Mabuyakhulu also suggested that the base station near Bergville could act as a catalyst to “revitalise” the failed Nondela Drakensberg Mountain Estate.
The 1 500ha Nondela golf course and housing development, linked to flamboyant property developer Zunaid Moti, collapsed shortly before its launch, during the 2008 financial crisis.
Earlier this year Mabuyakhulu organised an invitation-only investment conference at the Durban ICC, but the April event was called off at the last minute.
Though Mabuyakhulu has previously stated that the proposal would include a full environmental impact assessment, a brief legal notice in The Mercury last week announced that tenders for the cable car EIA had been cancelled.
A separate legal announcement on the same day invited consortiums to bid for “the works for proposed development of the Drakensberg cable car” and a new full feasibility study into the project.
Selected groups have also received an invitation to attend a new investors conference at the Durban ICC from June 20-21.
Bheko Madlala, a spokesperson for the MEC, did not respond to queries yesterday on the reasons for the cancellation of the EIA or the need for a new feasibility study.